Schachat's Occasional Breakdown
Schachat has ridden a spaniel to the rescue, but
would rather not talk about it.
a pretty slow week at the comic shop, but thankfully The
All New Atom #2 keeps building up the best
relaunch since Plastic Man. The secret: thought.
once, the people behind the book really, really thought
about the universe, character and situation. You can’t
say “It’s like Batman without a cape”
or “He’s a mini-Superman” or “X-Men...
with attitude”. There just isn’t anything like
this book on the market, and that makes it all the more
smoothly from the DCU Brave New World story (that showed
so much promise) and past the premiere issue, this outing
reacquaints us with some of the other difficulties involved
in being the new kid with the shrink-belt (not to mention
coming from Hong Kong and getting used to another country’s
just about every comic trying the same plan of attack this
week, Atom has Gail Simone to keep the train chugging
along. When she has her hero riding a spaniel to save a
homeless woman kidnapped by miniature megalomaniacs, you
can’t help but cheer that doggy on.
Of course, the other star of this series
is John Byrne, and rarely have his abilities to draw both
gargantuan technological wonders and piles of filth paid
off like they do here. The panels without backgrounds do
suffer a little and put perhaps too much weight on the shoulders
of Inker Trevor Scott and Colorist Alex Bleyaert, but the
painstaking detail of other scenes more than makes up for
like Mark Waid did all those years back with The Flash,
The All New Atom puts some brain power behind the concept
of a man with somewhat limited super powers and doesn’t
settle for walking in the well-worn shoes of its predecessor.
while you wait....
totally original? Nope. But, like all good stories, it knows
its roots, respects them, and tries not to trip over them
while doing the best a little guy can.
it’s quite odd to see Marvel Comics releasing something
like Agents of Atlas #1. Partly,
it’s a matter of legacy. DC were the ones to re-cast
their older heroes as the generations that came before.
Marvel’s been perfectly content to give Nick Fury
a change of clothes and only occasionally let it slip that
he should have fossilized by now.
the big surprise is Agents of Atlas works in its
own charming weird way. The “Secret” Avengers
it stars won’t be familiar to most Marvel readers,
but the pulp style is easily recognizable. How can you not
like a book that opens with a 50s Chinese FBI agent, a talking
gorilla, one of the robots from The Day the Earth Stood
Still, a goddess incarnate, and a Uranian space adventurer
saving President Eisenhower from the clutches of a wannabe
The pace does slow down some after that
introductory adventure. It also looks like we’re heading
for the familiar whodunnit territory so many retro books
camp in, so this series could always head south before it
wraps up in six months.
Still, any comic that teams a talking gorilla
and a killer robot is worth a look.
52 #13 marks the point where a normal comic
series would be celebrating its first anniversary. Where
it’d put out enough content to be recollected into
a couple of Trades. Where the fanbase would be stable enough
for us to know the series was solid. If it were a normal
Being a Weekly, it mostly pushes readers
to question if it’s worth two and a half clams a week
for a series that unflinchingly marches forward with little
forgiveness for anyone who takes a couple issues off.
But the book has been stagnating in recent
weeks. Rather than the rapid-fire meta-plot we were getting
early on, it’s slumped into devoting nearly an entire
issue to one thread. The weakest thread: Ralph Dibny.
Ralph rounds up some former JLA buddies
to crack down on the Cult of Connor (who raided Ralph’s
storage locker for some of Sue’s belongings last issue).
Why? Because they want to resurrect Superboy and have decided
to use Sue for a test run. It’d be an open and shut
case if Ralph could decide whether he wants them to go through
with the ceremony or not.
The story suffers from a couple major bumps
in the road: One, we don’t really care if characters
can be resurrected or not. They can. End of conversation.
Two, Ralph has gotten tedious. He’s been characterized
as goofball, greaving husband, dark detective, drooling
psycho, stone-cold crimefighter, and suicidal has-been in
the last year. Despite all this, the man hasn’t grown
one iota. And he’s Elongated Man so... yeah.
Adam and his new partner Isis get some attention in this
issue, but it’s just 3 pages of “Hey! We’re
doing stuff!” and “Gee, Adam. Killing is wrong.”
Next week promises a return to the Steel, Question &
Montoya and Metal Men plots, but this book is going to get
tiresome fast if they don’t bring back the quick cross-plotting
that made it worth coming back to week after week.
it may be more tightly woven than the short story in DCU
Brave New World, The Creeper #1
tosses it to us underhand. And suffers for it.
story thus far: Jack Ryder is an annoying TV personality.
He’s going to meet some wacky new doctor with a miracle
drug. The Creeper is born.
For those not in the know, DC just re-invented
The Creeper by giving him pretty much the same origin story.
Sure, he’s cast as more of a liberal’s Bill
O’Reilly, and advances in our misunderstanding of
science make the suit, personality, and power one and the
same. Doesn’t matter: it’s the same old dog.
DC needs to teach him some new tricks or put him down for
Steve Niles did give us an interesting spin
on the relationship between The Creeper and Jack Ryder in
his preview, but none of that is present here. All we get
is a drawn out “How I spent my summer vacation and
got weird powers”. The conflict is vague and the characters
are generic. Nothing creepy about that.
know who came up with the idea of giving Paul Dini a run
on one of the main Batman books, but Detective
Comics #822 certainly proves what a good notion
it was. We get a single issue mystery that lets The Riddler
flex his brain a bit and hits much closer to the spirit
of the Dark Knight than Robinson’s recent run.
the book opens with a murder, it quickly veers away from
the usual path when the victim’s filthy rich uncle
pulls some strings to get Riddler out of Arkham and on the
case. And, while Bats is still brushing his teeth, the first
thing he sets out to do is prove Bruce Wayne didn’t
commit the crime.
The concept of a Batman/Riddler team-up
is cute and clever, so this issue lives or dies by how open
you are to it. It doesn’t quite have the punch of
last month’s entree, but the story is easier to wrap
up in a single issue.
anyone who can’t shake the notion of Dini as a Batman:
The Animated Series or Batman Adventures kids'
writer, Don Kramer’s dark art, subtle bloodspray,
trip to an S&M club, and choice to give every female
character a dazzling display of cleavage should keep this
out of the hands of children.
by issue, Detective Comics is on the right track.
However, I tend to like it when stories lead somewhere.
This run could take place practically any time in Batman
continuity. You could even separate the issues by years
and not really notice. Is that bad? Not for people looking
for a quick Bat-book fix, but it definitely seems that Grant
Morrison’s current run on Batman will be
the place to go for bigger stories and lasting effects.